According to the FBI, workplace violence is the number one growing homicide in the United States. There are an estimated 225,000 to 300,000 occurrences of violence each year. Despite the aforementioned statistic, some managers have simply failed to address the issue of workplace violence. Such negligence has not necessarily been purposeful. It has been due to a lack of awareness of the problem coupled with a preoccupation of everyday pressures.
Many managers view workplace violence as just another workplace scourge such as sexual harassment--another governmental compliance burden. Unlike sexual harassment, workplace violence has resulted in people dying and that is precisely why it must be stopped.
Sadly, far too many perpetrators have been allowed to come to Afull blossom@ right under the nose of a manager. For example, statistically, Athree-quarters of documented perpetrators showed warning signs. With the aforementioned statistic in mind, this paper will show some aspects of workplace violence that managers should look for in both their employees and their organizations, so as to spot and prevent workplace violence.
Profiling potentially lethal employees or perpetrators is an exercise in both art and science. There is no question profiles can come in many forms and that many potential workplace murderers will not match any defined profile. Nonetheless, there are patterns evident in the behavior of workplace violence that make the effort of profiling them worthwhile and important to any organization.
The violent individual often telegraphs his violent intentions before acting upon them, which may help to predict violence. The profile itself has been constructed to reflect two major categories considered useful in the prediction of violence; personal characteristics and behavioral characteristics. Personal characteristics attempt to define sex, age, and life experiences that are common to workplace violence. Behavioral characteristics can generally be considered as independent of the sex, age, or life experiences of potential individuals. A combination of these elements, personal and behavioral, helps to more precisely define the lethal employee or perpetrator (Hesket, 1996).
Based on case histories of workplace violence, researchers have developed a profile into which a significant portion of the offenders fit. Most offenders are white males between the ages of thirty and sixty years old; they have been employed with the same company for a long period of time (that is, not a new or temporary employee); the individual demonstrates a history of violent behavior, alcohol or drug dependence, and severe or chronic depression. Also, Athose who are loners, own several guns and become paranoid about others (Kurlad, 1998).@ Below are a list of 20 common characteristics of perpetrators which may predict violent acts:
1. Disgruntled regarding a perceived injustice at work;
2. Socially isolated...